Reviewed By

Christopher Armstead
Looks like we've had a minor resurgence of the theatrically released comedical buddy cop genre, first with 'The Heat', followed by 'Ride a Long', and now 'Let's Be Cops'.  Here's the thing… neither Jake Johnson nor Damon Wayans Jr. is as comedically gifted as Mellissa McCarthy or Kevin Hart, but they are both funnier than Sandra Bullock and Ice Cube.  Theory being… hell, I don't know where I'm going with this.  We just want the movie to be funny is all.  The movie was funny.  We're happy.

Ryan (Johnson) and Justin (Wayans Jr.) are a couple of Ohio transplants living in mean and vacuous Los Angeles trying to make their fortune.   Justin as a videogame designer and Ryan as… well… nothing in particular.  They are failing at this.  After a misread of an invitation to a college class reunion… okay, we're only going to do this one time, that being throwing in some sense making analysis when it comes to this movie, but judging by the big P on Ryan's football helmet as he was watching his old college game film, I'm thinking they went to Purdue.  I guess.  The question would be why is Purdue having a class reunion costume party in Los Angeles?  And with that, we will ask no more silly questions.  Anyway, you've seen the trailer, these two dress up as cops to a masquerade party, keep the cops suits on afterwards, find that being cops is kind of fun, and with Ryan having absolutely nothing going on in his life, decides to take being a pretend cop to the next level.

As you might have guessed, hilarity and insanity ensue en masse, there's a pretty girl in the mix in Josie the Waitress (Nina Dobrev) who Justin is sweet on, and now that Justin is a cop and not just a meek, wimpy, repressed video game designer, Josie is sweet on him as well.  But there are two problems.  One is Ryan is seriously pushing the envelope on being a fake cop, even answering distress calls… the second problem is evil Serbian strong man Mossi (James D' Arcy), I guess he's Serbian, I can't remember, but whatever... the fake cops have made the mistake of harassing this dude.
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Our fake cops get the lowdown on Mossi from real cop Segars (Rob Riggle), so Ryan decides to run a sting operation.  Ryan has truly taken this charade to the next level.  So being a fake cop can be a lot of fun, until it stops being fun.  When folks start trying to kill you for real, and the hilarity and zaniness all of the sudden stops.

There's not a whole lot of deconstruction that needs to go into describing what I saw with 'Let's Be Cops'.  First two acts, really funny, even though some of the funny was a little uncomfortable at times, third act… super dark, and as such not very funny.

We already know from their television relationship that Jake Johnson and Damon Wayans Jr. have really good chemistry together, probably even better chemistry than Damon Wayans Jr. and his love interest Nina Dobrev, though Miss Dobrev is really thin and pretty, and it is the relationship between our two main characters that makes this thing work as well as it does.  Two funny guys in the absence of a straight man.  That worked pretty good here.  Toss in some Keegan-Michael Key and Rob Riggle for the extra funny… though Mr. Riggle was oddly instructed not be funny here… and one has a solid recipe for a funny evening at the show.

Now similar to both 'The Heat' and 'Ride a Long', the movie bracketing the funny was suspect at best, but the thing that makes that aspect of this film work a little better than those is that these two aren't really cops.  In those others, they are police officers so the fact that their cop centered story was lackluster had more weight on the overall film.  In this one, our heroes being fake cops took an odd, dark and serious turn, and while it fit logically, I'm not so sure it fit thematically.  What you are seeing here is me really trying to take this critic thing seriously, because there are two four-syllable words in that previous sentence. 

But enough of all of that.  What we have here with 'Let's Be Cops' is a fairly typical, run of the mill, buddy cop movie where boys have each other, boys lose other, and then boys have to get each other back before both boys die.  Formulaic to a fault.  Our only requirement is that within this formulaic exercise is that these boys make me laugh.  They succeeded in that, so we must proclaim that 'Let's be cops' was a success.
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